How Safe are Fiber Supplements to Consider for Everyday Use

January 24, 2023 7:17 am34 commentsViews: 80

Fiber is important in everybody’s daily diet for a healthy life. It is a requirement that the body needs in order to function properly, especially the digestive system. Many people do not meet the recommended intake of fiber due to various reasons. Fortunately, there are fiber supplements available in the market that can fulfill the essential fiber requirement. Often, doctors recommend daily fiber supplements for people with several digestive disorders, such as irritable bowel or chronic constipation.

How Safe are Fiber Supplements to Consider for Everyday Use

It is important to note that while you are already taking fiber supplements, certain medications for conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, intestinal problems like irritable bowel syndrome, asthma or kidney problems may produce adverse reactions. Therefore, consult your physician before considering a fiber supplement.

Absorption of certain medications, such as ASPIRIN®, warfarin and carbamazepine may be reduced while taking fiber supplements. Fiber supplements can also reduce blood sugar levels in people with diabetes which therefore may require an adjustment in your insulin dosage.

Types of fiber supplements

The three essential types of fiber supplements made from psyllium, methylcellulose, and polycarbophil are available in the market which aids as a replacement for those who cannot meet the necessary dietary fiber requirement through food.

Psyllium husk fiber supplements are perhaps the most familiar and are found in products like Metamucil® and Konsyl®. Psyllium husk fiber supplements soften and also add bulk to the stool which helps reduce chronic diarrhea and also ease constipation.

Some people prefer Citrucel® made from methylcellulose which is less gas-producing, as psyllium can cause excessive gas and bloating. Methylcellulose, which aids in adding bulk to the stool, is derived from the completely non-digestible parts of plants like the cell walls.

Similar to methylcellulose, polycarbophil is derived from plants. It absorbs water in the intestinal tract and creates a bulkier and softer stool. Some people prefer FiberCon®, made from polycarbophil, as it is less likely to cause bloating and can be used long term. This form of fiber is not appropriate for people who have difficulty swallowing.

The most recent additions to fiber supplements are those containing guar gum, also called guaran or acacia. These are natural thickening agents. The guar seeds are dehusked, milled and screened to obtain the guar gum. It is a free flowing, pale, off-white colored, coarse-to-fine ground powder. Many prefer it because it completely mixes with liquid, and thus its presence cannot usually be detected. Benefiber® is one product that formerly used guar gum but now uses wheat dextrin instead.

According to Mayo Clinic, no evidence thus far has been reported the harmful effects of long term use of fiber supplements. Fiber supplements are available in tablet, capsule, powder, and oil forms. Choose the right form of fiber supplement that suits your taste, lifestyle, and tolerance.

Tips while taking fiber supplements

While taking fiber supplements, be sure to drink plenty of water or other fluids every day, or else it can actually make your constipation worse. Also, to avoid problems with gas, add fiber to your diet slowly. If you do not feel comfortable after you start taking fiber supplements or if you experience any changes in your system such as diarrhea, nausea, or gaseous stomach, discontinue to use them and consult your physician or dietitian.

Carefully select the fiber supplement before you decide to buy either at a pharmacy store or online. There are numerous brands of fiber supplements in the market and each product varies with their contents and benefits. Read the labels and if possible make further research on the internet as to their price, manufacturer, source, and other important information.

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